Cropland Spatio-temporal Change and Driving Force in Three Gorges Reservoir Area

  • Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2011-01-18

  Revised date: 2011-05-29

  Online published: 2011-06-15


The world's largest dam project and Chinese Western Region Development project was implemented in recent decades in the Three Gorge Reservoir Area (TGRA). These human activities lead to and influence widespread cropland change. In this study we used remote sensing data for dynamic monitoring of cropland in TGRA over 15 years before and after the Three Gorges Project and found that cropland plantation index become 0.25 in 2007 in TGRA, cropland of 0.069 hectare per capita in 2007 is lower than 0.089 hectare per capita of critical line based on estimate of the national total cropland control of 18 billion Mu (1.2 billion hectare). Cropland lost 59 655 hectare during the Three Gorges Project construction, that is to say, annual loss of cropland is 3 977 hectare. With the change of cropland, the ratio of the cropland occupied to the cropland reclamation is 26∶1, such an unbalanced situation means a rapid decrease in land capacity. Meanwhile, high-yield cropland accounts for 61% of cropland loss, resulting to a decline in entire cropland quality. It aggravated the deterioration between cropland supply and food requirement. However, the urbanization process decreases rural population and alleviates the pressure of cropland resources per capita. The driving forces of cropland decline included urban development, "Grain for Green" Project, reservoir submergence and orchard plantation, among them urban development is a key factor. The reservoir submergence accounts for 16% of total cropland loss. Up to now, cropland on slopes more than 25 degree accounts for 20% of total cropland area, that means a high risk of serious soil erosion. As for the long run "Grain for Green" Project which aims at improving the ecological environment, there is still many to do in the future.

Cite this article

ZHANG Lei, WU Bingfang, ZHU Liang, WANG Peng . Cropland Spatio-temporal Change and Driving Force in Three Gorges Reservoir Area[J]. Journal of Geo-information Science, 2011 , 13(3) : 297 -304 . DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1047.2011.00297


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